17/10/1918 German morale buckles as the Allied advance continues #1918Live

While their masters exchange notes with Washington, Germany’s soldiers on the Western Front continue to be pushed back. Allied troops are now recovering territories that have been in German hands since 1914. For the Belgians this is a particularly exciting time as almost their entire country has been under German occupation and now its deliverance is at hand. Recent Allied victories have forced the Germans to begin a withdrawal from the Belgian coast and today Belgian troops enter the port of Ostend, together with King Albert. His arrival leads to emotional scenes.

French troops meanwhile have recovered Lille, while British forces liberate Le Cateau, scene of a failed attempt by the British in 1914 to hold off the Germans. Times have changed and now it is the Germans who are unable to halt the Allied juggernaut.

The retreats and defeats have sapped the morale of the once-mighty German army. Officers censoring their men’s post report that defeatism is now rife, with many soldiers writing home that they want peace at any price and are no longer willing to risk their lives in a war that has been lost. If an armistice is not concluded soon then the German army is at a very real risk of disintegration.

map (The Long, Long Trail: Campaign and battle maps for the British Army, 1914-1918)

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